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God’s Comforting Providence

Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology defines providence as “the sovereign, divine superintendence of all things, guiding them toward their divinely predetermined end in a way that is consistent with their created nature, all to the glory and praise of God. This … benevolent control of all things by God is the underlying premise of everything that is taught in the Scriptures.” We get an interesting window into the providence of God in Genesis 27. Abraham was earlier promised that through his descendants the whole world would be blessed. This promise is ultimately fulfilled in his greatest descendant, Jesus of Nazareth, but those more immediate to Abraham were not so stellar.

Don Carson writes this of Genesis 27: “Genesis 27 is in many ways a pathetic, grubby account. Earlier Esau had despised his birthright (25:34); now Jacob swindles him out of it. In this Jacob is guided by his mother Rebekah, who thus shows favoritism among her children and disloyalty to her husband. Esau throws a tantrum and takes no responsibility for his actions at all. Indeed, he nurses his bitterness and plots the assassination of his brother. The family that constitutes the promised line is not doing very well.” Then he goes on to write, “Yet behind these grubby and evil actions God is mysteriously working out his purposes to bring the promised line to the end he has determined.”

Jesus himself was horrifically killed through the hateful plotting of the Pharisees, the deceitful betrayal of Judas, the unjust sentence of a corrupt court, and the brutality of Roman soldiers. Yet God was in control bringing glory out of gore. Providence is mysterious but God rules behind the scenes to bring good out of bad and to fulfill his purpose.

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